What is a Therapist?

Over the years as I have continued my studies in psychotherapy, I have often been amazed at how varied and diverse the profession is. I started off with a general idea of what it meant to be a therapist and since then have found not only that my idea has grown in scope and complexity but that there are many different paths that people have taken towards the same goal. There are many different roads towards becoming a therapist and each bring their own perspectives and ideas on the profession. Often one is no more effective than the other even though they may differ greatly.

Since I have begun working as a therapist, this awareness has been reinforced by the diversity of perspectives and expectations that clients have of therapists and the therapeutic process. Depending on their background, their past experience with the mental health and their goals for coming to therapy, their concept of who I am, or what my role is as a therapist can look pretty different.

Rather than just talking about the different perspectives that people have of therapists, I thought it would be interesting to use this blog as an opportunity to hear from different people’s perspectives and highlight some of the similarities and differences that exist.

In the comments section below, write the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the question “What is a Therapist?”.

It could be a word, or an image, or a feeling or a more elaborate description depending on what feels right to you. In this there’s no right or wrong answers, only different perspectives.

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5 thoughts on “What is a Therapist?

  1. I’m tempted to go with something like “psychological health strategist” or some other semi-convoluted and technical sounding phrase.

    But I’ve always felt that the image of a mirror was apt.

  2. The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word therapist is a person whos willing to give there time to someone to help them with there problems, help them accomplish there goals, & to see life not as bad as they see it. A therapist should be a good listener, who does not judge, nor criticize the patient and to make the patient feel comfortable enough to talk about there problems with no doubt and to trust you.

      • It’s a good question, though I would contend that there isn’t really one defining quality of a good therapist. Particularly when considering the many different varieties of therapy that are practiced, there are many different and even contradicting qualities that might make someone effective at facilitating change.

        Although it’s certainly hard to argue with your list – those are all things that I would look for in a therapist, and that I strive to embody when meeting with others in a helping relationship.

      • I think Dave really hit the nail on the head when he highlighted the fact that there are many different perspectives of what defines a good therapist. that was part of why I wanted to leave this idea an open ended exploration of what comes up for different people, as it tends to change depending on who you ask.

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